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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralBudget Outfit ChallengeBudget Outfit Challenge
New Post
4/10/2012 10:24 AM

This is an exercise I like to do periodically. The goal is to come up with a backpacking setup on a budget to prove that it doesn't take expensive gear to get out there. The rules are simple -

  • post a list of items you would recommend for a basic backpacking setup.
  • If you don't have much time, at least provide an option for the following major items - Shelter, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad, Backpack.
  • If you've got more time, fill out the rest of the list.
  • Post link to each item.
  • List price of each item and total price
  • List weight of each item
  • You are allowed to include one used item picked up on craigslist or at a used gear store, but it has to be an actual item, not a general "you should be able to get such and such for $xxx".

When I've done this in the past, I've been able to come in under $250 for the big four with a rig that I'd feel comfortable taking most places in the world. Let the entries begin!

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
4/10/2012 7:52 PM

Hmmm...Couple Q's to my Bearded Compadre...

1) Just backpacking or backpack hunting? (weight bearing vs. non-weight bearing packs and footwear)

2) What degree of inclement weather? Temps? Precip?

3) Duration and/or anticipated distance? Exertion level?

4) "Most places in the world" turns out to be an unreasonably large input dial...Coastal Rainforests, Steep/Deep North Cascades, Arid High Desert, Breadbasket country, Metropolitan areas, Arctic circle, African tall grass, Indonesian island hopping, etc.  On one hand it would be nice to narrow it down, but it might be more interesting to see what people come up with for locales of their own choosing....which also leads to radically different cost structures.

My intention is not to throw a wet blanket on the topic, I just think the multi-variate problem needs a wee bit more structure.



New Post
4/10/2012 8:15 PM

How folks choose to frame the problem is as educational as the answers they come up with! Explaining your choices would certainly add more value to the response too.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
4/12/2012 4:18 PM

I’ll play. I’m going to take the tack that this will have to work for backpacking and backpack hunting as if one is on such a budget, they aren’t going to be able to have multiple equipment sets. I’m also going to plan that it will primarily be for three season use.  As to terrain, I’ll go with temperate forest type stuff that can be found from east to west in the lower 48 including mountains. That covers a pretty broad range, and not everything will be perfect for every situation, but better to get out with what I’m able to afford than to sit home reading forums while I save up for what I “need.”


Backpack: Could be a used Lowe Contour IV 90+ or a variety of older Mountainsmiths. They aren’t ultra light but certainly don’t compare badly to standard Kifaru or MR packs in that regard. The weight is going to be in the seven pound range, but as the pack is the LAST place I want to cut weight, I can live with that. I sure won’t mind when it’s full of meat. They can carry enough of a load that they will work for hunting.  One search of Craigslist netted a MS Frostfire II for $40. I’d put a top price of $75 for something like this and they always seem to be coming out of someone’s closet. Only real down side are the colors. You better like teal, red or blue.


Tent: This deal isn’t always out there, but since it is right now I’d go with a Golite SL-3. At 2 lbs. 7 ounces with pole, it definitely falls into the lightweight category and is big enough to fit two and gear. It also has the potential to be made into a wood burning shelter down the road. It won’t be the ultimate in buggy and/or humid climes (can add a nest for those circumstances though), but for a whole bunch of backpacking and hunting it will do quite nicely. $130 For just one guy who likes trekking poles, I’d consider the SL-2 at $100 and a pound less.


Sleeping Bag: Lots of options here. I’m not a big fan of used bags unless it’s a higher end down bag that has been well cared for, but even those aren’t cheap.  Sierra Trading Post always has some decent bags and they almost always have a 30% off offer in my inbox.  $130 for a sub 3 lbs. down bag is probably about as good as I’m likely to do, so I’d give a strong look at this Sierra Designs Pyro 15 degree down bag. I’ll keep in mind that their 15 degree rating is not my 15 degree rating, but that’s the case with most bags.  There are a bunch of synthetic bags out that will come in at the same price, if not the same weight.


So that is the big three of pack/shelter/bag coming in at $270 and about 12.5 lbs. Not bad for either number IMO, and none of it is Wal-Mart type quality gear. In the quality gear at a bargain price, I find Sierra Trading Post to be one of the best places around. You can get pretty much all of the clothing you need for backpacking at a very good price. I’m not going to make suggestions because sizes vary, but from boots to rain gear and all the layers in between they are about as good as it gets for getting pretty high quality stuff at reasonable prices. One example is the Marmot Pre-Cip rain gear. Jackets are a bit over $50 with email discounts. The other discount clothing essential I’ve been happy with are the merino socks at either Sam’s Club or Costco. They compare well to my Smartwool stuff at dramatically less cost.

New Post
4/12/2012 4:36 PM


Alright Evan, I'll participate.


First I'll start with the shelter.  The Shangra La 2 flysheet is $99 and weighs 1.7 oz.  There is always an option of the bug nest later on if one wants it so thats an plus, but for starters we have an lightweight durable shelter that is the competition to the Kifaru Supertarp. 


The pack is easy.  I bought an new Kelty 3500 Atlantis for my nephew at Bob Wards in Billings Montana and paid $79 for it.  Probably some old stock they had laying around that needed to be on sale.  It was an Mystery Ranch/Kelty colaboration and the bag is actually pretty decent. 4.5 lbs


Bags are tough.  Tough because I have to use an extra girth bag so I have to carry extra weight in that department.  An Kelty Mistral 20* XL bag can be had for $49.99 and weighs 4lb 10 oz.


Pad.  Well, Im going to go with plying two $6 foam wally pad together with platic quick zip ties and using the abundance of local boughs and limbs if needed for extra insulation.  So $14 and lets call it a 1 lb to be safe.


All up I have $244 into the Golite SL-2, Kelty pack and sleep bag, and the cheap two ply foam pad.  The final weight comes out to 12.9 lbs.


When we add some old plastic 1 liter Aquifina used bottles some food, a spork, and an old aluminum pot from the thrift store or home, we are sub 20 lbs. for an weekender trip.  The rest of the odds and ends are easily found around the house.  Like I forged my own Hudsons bay knife and rehafted an free Collins small boys axe. 


It can be done and I think that the Golite product as an whole is tough to beat for the price.  Lots of capability for the prices paid.



New Post
4/14/2012 8:24 AM

I went to campmor to shop for my items.  I would feel comfortable equiping a youth or adult for backpacking in the cascades in summer with this gear.  It is durable equipment and will allow the person to aquire some great skills too.

tem Description Availability Quantity Price Total



(Shipping Details)


$34.99 $34.99

Campmor Cascade II Poncho - Long (Unisex)

Item No.77705GRE

Color: Green



(Shipping Details)


$22.99 $22.99



(Shipping Details)


$11.99 $11.99

Slumberjack Ultimate 30 Degree Sleeping Bag Regular

Item No.47313R

Zipper: Right Side Zipper



(Shipping Details)


$29.98 $29.98

Jansport Big Bear 82 Internal Frame Pack

Item No.60983BLU

Color: Blue Ridge



(Shipping Details)


$69.98 $69.98



(Shipping Details)


$10.99 $10.99



(Shipping Details)


$4.99 $4.99
subtotal before tax: $185.91
order total before tax: $185.91

Tarp - shelter

Poncho - Rain Gear/Ground Cloth

Sleeping Bag - Not the lightest but inexpensive and durable

Foam Pad - Good ole hardman pad

Pack - pretty good deal for 5000 cubic inches

Aluminum 2qt Pot - learn to cook/boil water on fire, no need for an expensive stove yet

Mug - Good insulated mug for measuring, drinking, and eating

To the above I would add the following -

P-Cord for tarp setup

Pocket Knife for making stakes, cooking , eating , making fire tinder

1qt Bottled Water from mini-mart - reused as water bottle

Bottle of potable aqua for h2o treatment

Plastic fork and spoon from McDonalds

Cheap AA flashlight

2 Bic Lighters and Pill Bottle of strike anywhere matches

2 Bandanas

Half a bar of ivory soap in ziplock


Clothing -

Shoes - whatever you own that is comfortable, i.e. tennis shoes

Underwear of choice x2

Wool Socks x2

Surplus BDU pants

Swim Trunks

Poly/Cotton T-Shirt x2

Thift Store Wool Shirt x1

Cheap Fleece Jacket - Old Navy/Thrift Store

Wool Watch Cap


Food - Ramen, Mac/Cheese, Tang, Granola Bars, Gorp, Hot Chocolate, Oatmeal


I purposely didn't include any navigation gear or first aid items because this list is for someone just starting out and this person should be going out on shorter trips and with someone more experienced who has this stuff and will be teaching the newbie how to use the above gear.



New Post
4/15/2012 9:25 AM

Just FYI GoLite no longer sells the flysheets seperately I am working on my list and will have one posted shortly,

New Post
4/25/2012 7:01 AM
I'll play. I picked up a beat up marine corp. ILBE backpack off of ebay for less then $40. It has several broken straps and buckles, and no top lid, but its still very functional and carries a load better then most. I don't know the weight but I'm guessing about 7 lbs. Really nice specimans can be picked up for around $100 all the time. For bag i grabbed a Kelty cosmic down 20 degres, 2.5 lbs. For $50 off theclymb. They can be bought around $100 all the time and are really nice bags for the money. For pads i don't think one can beat a zrest for $35 and 14 oz. Breaking the rules a little by using two used items but i don't count the ilbe since ebay is the only place I've seen them. For shelter i picked up a tarptent contrail for $110 and 1 oz. Shy of 2 lbs. With pole kit used. I think they sre $200 nrw. Just a couple of options for folks that i really like and think would serve someone well!
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralBudget Outfit ChallengeBudget Outfit Challenge